Webinar with Representative Chris Pappas
By Andrew Barbetto ‘23 | February 10, 2021
On February 3rd, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics along with the Business and Industry Association organized a webinar that hosted House Representative from New Hampshire Chris Pappas. The webinar was geared at allowing Congressman Pappas to express his views on this tumultuous time in American politics.
Over these past few months, Americans saw a highly debated and controversial election amid the Covid-19 pandemic. These turbulent times were only worsened on January 6th when a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the electoral college vote. With these memories fresh in his mind, the congressman used the webinar as an opportunity to share his thoughts on these troubling times, but also how we can move forward together.
A central theme to Congressman Pappas’ thoughts on this time in American history is that we “should not take anything for granted”. Congressman Pappas’ spoke of how he, like all Americans, took for granted our basic way of life prior to that being suddenly interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. He spoke of how there was now a special appreciation for our loved ones that has come from enduring this pandemic. In order to slowly work our way out of this pandemic, Congressman Pappas spoke of the importance of the vaccine rollout and how President Biden’s plan to use pharmacies for vaccine distribution will be helpful in this process.
Congressman Pappas also focused on the crippling economic impact this pandemic has had on New Hampshire and the country. He made clear that although vaccines have begun to be distributed, there also needs to be more economic relief that comes out of congress. In Congress there are currently two plans: one put out by the Biden administration that has a price tag of around $1.9 trillion and a plan put out by congressional Republicans that would cost a little over $600 billion. When asked about these two plans Congressman Pappas said that there is definitely room for compromise between the two but some of his main priorities are the $2,000 stimulus checks and targeted economic relief for places like small businesses.
Keeping with the theme of taking things for granted, Congressman Pappas touched on how we now must protect our political institutions. Although the congressman was able to get home safely during the riots on January 6th, he spoke on how he was reminded of Benjamin Franklin when he said that we will have a republic “If we can keep it.” So, in order for us to keep this republic Congressman Pappas spoke of how we must unify but also hold people accountable. He went on to say that he felt that President Trump must be held accountable for his role in the January 6th riots and that is why he voted to impeach him.
But with that he also acknowledged that the chances of the Senate convicting him are low, but he also hoped there may be a compromise consisting of condemnation of the President’s acts in order to denounce his role on that day.
Throughout the hour-long webinar Congressman Pappas’ central themes remained the same, that this past year has taught us that we cannot take anything for granted as Americans, and in order for us to forge a better future, we must come together. He spoke on how he will have an important role in that by working across the aisle in congress, but also how young people, with the help of places like the New Hampshire Institute of Politics will also have a major role in that mission of unification.